By Mario Carr
Attention meteor shower watchers. This year’s Geminid Meteor Shower will be phenomenal compared to last year’s event. You can watch it all night starting in the early evening of December 13.
This year, the meteor shower will occur with little interference from moonlight and you don’t have to stay up all night to see it. You can begin watching it as soon as it starts to get dark after twilight. It will appear to be coming from the Geminids constellation, which will be rising in the northeast.
As the Geminids continue to rise higher in the sky through the evening, the rate of meteor activity will also slowly increase. When it’s directly overhead, it will be at its peak at 1 a.m. Theoretically, there will be 120 meteors per hour if you’re watching the event from pristine dark skies but for most of us that number will be less. The Geminids are slightly more active than the Persieds in August.
Here are November stargazing events, which are listed in the 2017 Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar. You can purchase a copy of the 2018 calendar at the club’s next meeting.
Mercury is visible in the evening sky early in the month. Later in the month, it’s visible in the dawn sky. Venus is briefly visible in the dawn twilight sky early in the month. Mars can be seen in the morning sky. Jupiter can be seen in morning twilight. Saturn is too close to the Sun to be seen. Uranus can be seen in the evening sky setting after midnight.
December 8 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m, Spectator Building, 44 Frid Street, Hamilton. Free admission, door prizes and everybody is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected and appreciated.
December 13 – The crescent Moon is above Mars at dawn.
December 14 – The crescent Moon is above Jupiter at dawn.
December 21 – Winter officially begins with the Winter Solstice at 11:28 a.m.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members. A membership makes a great Christmas gift.